Initiatives aimed at lowering hospital admissions also lower readmissions, study finds

Programs geared to promote strategies to simultaneously lower hospital admissions and readmissions can be successful in communities where patients tend to be sicker when hospitalized, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

For the study, researchers analyzed Medicare data collected from communities with hospitals that are major referral centers in 2010 and 2013. Using the data, researchers calculated both admission and readmission rates for each community.

While hospital groups and policymakers have expressed concern regarding CMS programs that seek to lower both admissions and readmissions, citing the creation of a sicker hospitalized population with worse outcomes and increased readmission rates as a potential downfall, researchers found that a reduction in hospital admissions was strongly associated with a reduction in 30-day readmissions.

Kumar Dharmarajan, MD, assistant professor of cardiology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and the study's first author, said, "We're showing that communities can do a good job of improving both population health and outcomes after hospitalization. These goals are not in conflict."

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